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Progress report: 200 days to go

Published: Monday 21 November 2011, 9.05CET
With the 16 UEFA EURO 2012 contenders confirmed and preparing for the finals draw on 2 December, UEFA.com gets the latest on progress off the pitch in Poland and Ukraine.
by Bogdan Buga & Daniel Olkowicz
from Kyiv & Warsaw

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Published: Monday 21 November 2011, 9.05CET

Progress report: 200 days to go

With the 16 UEFA EURO 2012 contenders confirmed and preparing for the finals draw on 2 December, UEFA.com gets the latest on progress off the pitch in Poland and Ukraine.

The countdown to UEFA EURO 2012 reaches a new milestone on Monday, which marks 200 days until the final tournament begins in Warsaw. The footballing matters are almost decided, with qualifying complete and 16 teams preparing for the draw in Kyiv a week on Friday. UEFA.com checks out how things are progressing off the pitch in Poland and Ukraine.

Venues
Poland: The revamped Municipal Stadium Poznan opened last year, followed this autumn by the stunning Arena Gdansk and, on 11 November, the Municipal Stadium Wroclaw. The finishing touches are being applied to the National Stadium Warsaw, venue for the first game at UEFA EURO 2012, which should be completed at the start of next year.

Ukraine: The Arena Lviv became Ukraine's fourth and final stadium to be unveiled on the international stage last Tuesday as Oleg Blokhin's co-hosts beat Austria 2-1. Four days earlier the national team inaugurated Kyiv's revamped Olympic Stadium, which will stage the EURO final, with a thrilling 3-3 draw against Germany. Kharkiv's spider-like Metalist Stadium and the ultra-modern Donbass Arena had opened in 2009.

Infrastructure
Poland: The reconstruction and reconfiguring of local train lines serving the stadiums in Gdansk, Wroclaw and Warsaw is well under way, part of a major upgrade of the national railway system. A new airport shuttle in the capital is being built while a general upgrade of the Polish road network is ongoing.

Ukraine: Work on the country's road network continues despite the onset of winter, and high-speed rail links are progressing well. Airports serving all four venues have undergone major changes, with modern terminals, longer runways and new control towers either in operation or imminent. There has been a significant investment in hotels in the capital since April 2007, when UEFA EURO 2012 was awarded to Poland and Ukraine.

Host teams
Poland: Franciszek Smuda's side are unpredictable but there is cause for hope using the admittedly capricious barometer of international friendlies. Over the last 18 months Poland have defeated Ivory Coast (3-1), Norway (1-0) and Argentina (2-1), held Germany (2-2) and Greece (0-0) – and lost 2-0 to Lithuania. That inconsistency is perhaps a pitfall of having a team so young, if laced with talent like goalkeeper Wojciech Szczęsny and Borussia Dortmund duo Robert Lewandowski and Jakub Błaszczykowski, their captain at 25. The future is bright.

Ukraine: Blokhin, who guided Ukraine to the 2006 FIFA World Cup quarter-finals, returned to the helm in April but after initial success his charges struggled, going down to France (1-4), Sweden (0-1), Uruguay (2-3) and the Czech Republic (0-4). That four-match losing streak – a national record – ended with victory over Bulgaria (3-0), and they have since beaten Estonia (2-0) and Austria (2-1), either side of a thrilling 3-3 draw with Germany ten days ago.

Final tournament draw
The UEFA EURO 2012 finals draw will take place at the Palace of Arts in Kyiv from 18.00CET on Friday 2 December. The 16 teams will be drawn into four groups of four for the tournament that kicks off on 8 June 2012.

Pot 1: Spain (winners in 1964, 2008), Netherlands (1988), Poland (placed in Group A), Ukraine (placed in Group D)
Pot 2: Germany (1972, 1980, 1996), Italy (1968), England, Russia (1960)
Pot 3: Croatia, Greece (2004), Portugal, Sweden
Pot 4: Denmark (1992), France (2000), Czech Republic (1976), Republic of Ireland

Tickets
Customers can resell their UEFA EURO 2012 tickets at face value and on a first come, first served basis through the official UEFA EURO 2012 ticket resale platform until 1 March 2012.

Mascots
Slavek and Slavko will take on the mantle of Trix and Flix, who entertained all comers at UEFA EURO 2008. The new mascots' names collected 56% of a public vote this time last year.

Volunteers
Between June and October, a competition record 23,965 people hailing from 142 countries submitted applications for the 5,500 positions. The interview process was completed last week, with one girl travelling from Australia for hers, and the roster will be finalised by the end of the year. Training has already begun, though, and 270 volunteers will assist at the final tournament draw.

Last updated: 06/12/13 5.59CET

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http://www.uefa.com/uefaeuro/news/newsid=1716258.html#progress+report+days

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